Sky-high dining concept proposed for San Diego’s Balboa Park

The award-winning San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group has proposed a way to elevate the dining experience at the city’s iconic Balboa Park—literally—with an upscale observation wheel.

The Balboa Park Star, San Diego
Images courtesy of Cohn Restaurant Group

If approved by the Balboa Park Committee, the Cohn Group’s proposed wheel—The Balboa Park Star—would be installed in the Plaza de Panama, offering a temporary socially-distanced dining experience for approximately three months. The wheel would be designed by Ronald Bussink and operated by Sky Views of America, the same company that operates the Grand Wheel at the San Diego County Fair, as well as wheels at the Los Angeles County and Orange County Fairs.

The 148-foot Balboa Park Star would have 36 gondolas that would each seat up to eight guests, providing a new way for people to dine after many restaurants closed due to the pandemic. Plus, the wheel would offer a spectacular view at the top, stretching from the park to the downtown waterfront.

Analicia Rodriguez, a visitor to Balboa Park, told Fox 5 San Diego, “I think it would be really cool to sit and have dinner and see everything.”

Balboa Park, San Diego

Calling the project “A Bridge Between Past and Present,” the proposal draws a historical link to the Ferris Wheel that anchored the Isthmus Entertainment District of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The group also believes The Balboa Park Star will draw visitors to the park and compare it to other Bussink-designed observation wheels worldwide that have become iconic cultural attractions, including La Grande Roue in Paris, the Belfast Eye in Ireland, and the Eye on Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Most importantly, the group notes, the temporary, world-class attraction will “spark reimagined opportunities for local and visitor enjoyment and engagement during COVID-19.”

The Cohn Group’s proposal for The Balboa Park Star observation wheel is still awaiting approval. Click here for details.


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